Uranium Club [Release date 12.03.17]
Kaprekar’s Constant is the brainchild of a couple of old duffers, and childhood friends, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Al Nicholson and Nick Jefferson who, like many of us lived through prog’s golden years.
Bringing together like minded individuals, and striking pure gold in enlisting legendary Van Der Graaf Generator sax and flute maestro David Jackson, Fate Outsmarts Desire pulls off that difficult balance of sounding both authentically ‘period’, and fresh and contemporary. Although in overall ‘feel’ the project has more in common with pastoral sensibilities of Caravan, Renaissance and Jethro Tull than the more angular abrasiveness of Van Der Graaf.
With some first rates vocals provided by second generationers Bill Jefferson and Dorie Jackson, keyboards by Mike Westergaard of The Blessing, and drums by former Level 42 man Phil Gould, the line-up is an impressive one that breezes through the set with some particularly fine melodic playing.
Made up of three longer pieces, and three shorter numbers, ‘Donald Campbell’s Bluebird’ wasn’t perhaps the most original of ideas to build a piece around given the renown of Marillion’s ‘Out Of This World’, although KC’s Bluebird is an altogether broader storytelling piece.
On the downside there is extensive use of the spoken word, courtesy of Paul Gunn, in two of the longer pieces – ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Hallsands’, and the use of recorded voices. While these add to the atmospherics, the formula is a little passé and could well militate against repeated listening.
That said, Fate Outsmarts Desire is a highly impressive and at times, very beautiful debut that doesn’t try to mess too much with what was once a ‘classic’ format. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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